I write programs for a living. I've got an opinion on everything. Unfortunately.
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This has brightened up my day already

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zippy72
17 hours ago
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How Britain made me a citizen of nowhere

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PARIS — I am a citizen of nowhere. Or that’s what Brexit Britain would have me, and millions of others like me, believe.

I was denied the right to vote in the 2016 referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union because I had lived too long … in the European Union. Under a law passed by Tony Blair’s Labour government, people who live abroad more than 15 years lose the franchise.

That’s why I’m applying to become a citizen of France, the country where I reside, and which allows its citizens to vote wherever they live, and no matter however long they’ve been abroad.

I’m not seeking French citizenship in a fit of pique because I believe my countrymen made the wrong choice (although I certainly do). Nor am I motivated by material considerations like health care, tax, residence rights or property ownership. As the spouse of a French citizen, I am entitled to public health care and have the right to reside here indefinitely. I pay my taxes in France anyway.

No. I simply want to become a full citizen of somewhere. When I disagree with the government, I want to be able to vote the rascals out.

Becoming French won’t fundamentally change my identity.

Instead, my government has voted me out. As Prime Minister Theresa May said at the Conservative Party conference in October 2016 in a speech pitting “international elites” against “the people down the road”: “If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere — you don’t understand what citizenship means.”

In a democracy, the right to vote is the core of citizenship. Perhaps naively, I had not imagined that mine could be taken away, even though as a career foreign correspondent employed by a U.K.-based company, I rarely had the opportunity to exercise it.

The first time I voted was in the 1975 referendum when Britons decided by a two-thirds majority to remain in what was then the European Economic Community, two years after joining it.

Forty-one years later, Britons were asked to take the same decision again. Only this time, the stakes were much higher, because we had become so integrated into the EU economically, politically and in our national security.

Yet, like many of the estimated 5.5 million British expatriates, I was deprived of a say. This denial of citizenship was all the more galling since my day job involved explaining how the EU works to Britons and other readers around the world, as European affairs editor at Reuters. I suppose that made me one of those “experts” of whom Conservative Brexit crusader Michael Gove said “people in this country have had enough.”

“I simply want to become a full citizen of somewhere” | Mario Tama/Getty Images

Becoming French won’t fundamentally change my identity. Like millions of Europeans, I am culturally diverse with multiple identities. I am British and European and Jewish and a Geordie with an abiding attachment to northeast England. I still log on every Saturday night wherever I am to find out how Newcastle United fared (or as we Geordies say, “who the lads lost to this week”).

I have lived more than half my life outside the U.K., mostly in France and Belgium but also in Germany, Israel, Palestine and Iran. My wife, children and grandchildren are French. I feel at home in many places, especially the village in Provence that has been our family home-from-home for 40 years.

That makes me a paid-up member of what British essayist David Goodhart calls the “Anywheres” — the tribe of highly educated, mobile, globalized people who moved away from their home towns when they went to university and never returned. True to his description, I am a secular social democrat at ease with immigration and social diversity.

In Goodhart’s theory of the new value divisions in advanced democracies, propounded in his book “The Road to Somewhere,” that also makes me an antagonist of the “Somewheres” — less well educated people who are more locally rooted and socially conservative, who value security and familiarity and feel change has gone too far, too fast.

There is some truth to that. I viscerally dislike nationalism, which I believe ultimately leads to war, as former French President Francois Mitterrand rightly observed in his final speech to the European Parliament. Whether in the guise of “America first” or Brexit, nationalism goes beyond asserting a right to self-determination based on a shared geography or ethnicity. It involves a dangerous collective sense of superiority over other tribes, races, creeds or religions.

France, my prospective new motherland, also has its share of nationalism, anti-immigrant bigotry and anti-Semitism, some of it violent.

But where Goodhart gets people like me wrong is when he suggests we are so globalized that we no longer believe in society.

To the contrary, I have an enduring feeling of solidarity with the working-class communities in my home region that were gutted by the death of the coal, steel and shipbuilding industries mostly before Britain joined the EU, and whose children did not get the same educational and economic opportunities that I enjoyed.

But I believe their prospects lie in education, skills training and targeted public investment, not in shutting borders, restricting trade or leaving the EU.

My own ancestors immigrated from the Baltic states and Poland in the late 19th century, fleeing poverty and pogroms against the Jews. Thanks to the EU, they would nowadays be entitled to work anywhere in the bloc under freedom of movement rules. They were exactly the sort of poor, Eastern European “economic migrants” Brexiteers want to shut out.

They made a rapid contribution to Britain in business, medicine, the law and academe. Post-war British meritocracy gave them plenty of opportunity. My uncle, whose mother was born in Lithuania to a family of rabbis, became Lord Chief Justice of England. My father was a solicitor who also chaired the Newcastle Health Authority. His father and sister were doctors.

A dog waits as its owner casts their ballot in the Brexit referendum | Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

They also encountered British anti-Semitism. My mother’s maiden name was Cohen. When she applied to join a tennis club in the early 1950s, she was told there was a long waiting list. When she married my father shortly afterward and reapplied as Mrs. Taylor, the waiting list had miraculously disappeared. Several local golf clubs didn’t admit Jews.

France, my prospective new motherland, also has its share of nationalism, anti-immigrant bigotry and anti-Semitism, some of it violent. More Jews are leaving France out of fear for their safety than are seeking citizenship to settle here.

A friend asked whether I would have requested French nationality if Marine Le Pen, a populist anti-immigration Euroskeptic, had won last year’s presidential election instead of Emmanuel Macron, a pro-European social liberal.

My answer was yes, because as a citizen I can campaign and vote against her. Without the right to vote, as I learned from the U.K., I can only be a dismayed observer.

In a few months’ time, when I hope to raise a glass of rouge and sing “La Marseillaise” to celebrate becoming French, I will have become a citizen of somewhere again. Or perhaps I will have gained triple nationality as a citizen of France, Britain and nowhere.

Paul Taylor, contributing editor at POLITICO, writes the Europe At Large column.



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zippy72
1 day ago
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Same reason I'm looking into Portuguese citizenship
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expatpaul
2 days ago
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Belgium
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20 years ago, the iMac changed the world

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Sunday is the birthday for the first major consumer product of the second Steve Jobs era, one which changed the trajectory of Apple forever.
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zippy72
3 days ago
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They still look immensely cool. Kind of would like one from a nostalgia point of view :)
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Maybe companies are just doing blockchain wrong

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There are signs that blockchain fever is cooling off.

Not long ago, banks were crowding into consortiums to develop distributed-ledger systems, as optimism about (and fear of) the new technology bubbled up. But so far, albeit with some exceptions, few live commercial projects have sprung up. It also seems most executives aren’t planning to implement much of anything featuring blockchain anytime soon, according to a Gartner survey of CIOs.

The going may be slow for several reasons. Blockchain systems require specialized expertise that’s perhaps in short supply. There’s also a gap between what technologists envision for distributed ledgers—making processes faster and more secure—and what can actually be accomplished. Despite the hype, there’s a growing recognition that—gasp!—not everything needs to be blockchained.

But here’s an optimistic take: Maybe people are doing it wrong. Bitcoin, for example, is designed to be decentralized, so that it doesn’t rely on the structures traditional finance is built on, which includes things like banks, stock exchanges, and custodians. The most popular exchanges for trading crypto replicate these traditional structures, concentrating assets, leaving them vulnerable to hackers, and also making participants subject to decisions made a small number of people.

Replicating traditional financial platforms may not be as useful as aiming to create something totally new. One of the unique properties of a blockchain-based game like CryptoKitties, for example, is that the game’s collectibles are digital objects and don’t depend on their issuer for their existence.

Decentralized exchanges could be another example. This style of transacting means the funds remain distributed with each user, so that there’s no central storage that hackers can target. Aaron Voisine, co-founder of the BRD wallet for digital assets, thinks decentralized exchanges could be a viable alternative within two years.

These sorts of ideas may not replace the financial system as we know it, but they may give rise to something genuinely innovative that justifies some of the hype.


The future of finance on Quartz

In the future, you will monetize your personal data—in tiny amounts. Writing for Quartz, Starling CEO Anne Boden imagines a time when our data, and the money to be made from it, flows to us instead of tech companies. Digital micropayments will help make it happen.

It’s a man’s (crypto) world. By some measures, gender disparity is even worse in the crypto sector than in the tech industry. Women in crypto say the best way to reverse this trend is to highlight the amazing work of leaders like Athena Capital founder Meltem Demirors and General Electric’s Maja Vujinovic.

The bitcoin market isn’t moved by Wall Street. This month, several venerable institutions have said they are preparing to enter the market. However, bitcoin prices have declined, even though this could unlock demand from much bigger investors.

Warren Buffett says crypto “will come to bad endings.” He has a mixed record on technology calls—the Oracle of Omaha recognized that the dot-com boom was an unstable bubble, but failed to see the promise of Amazon and Google. Business partner Charlie Munger says he’s even more bearish on crypto than Buffett.


The future of finance elsewhere

A London cafe stopped using cash, to thwart robberies. Hipster cafe The Watch House was already 80% digital payments, writes Financial Times editor Patrick Jenkins, who notes that in other ways cash is surprisingly on the upswing (paywall). He also points out a worrying correlation between regions with greater use of electronic money and rising consumer debt.

PayPal can still beat Amazon Pay. PayPal already has a massive number of users and alliances with everyone from Visa and MasterCard to Alibaba and HSBC, according to Barron’s, citing research from Evercore ISI. Perhaps most importantly, PayPal doesn’t compete with retailers.

Wall Street’s boring back office keeps mainstream investors out of crypto. Traditional custodians aren’t ready for digital assets, and auditing and record-keeping services also lag behind. In the meantime, exchange operators like Intercontinental Exchange are plowing ahead on bitcoin derivatives.

Bitcoin futures didn’t cause bitcoin’s bear market. The debut of bitcoin derivatives made it easier to short the crypto asset, which correlates with price declines since then, according to research from the San Francisco Fed. But DRW founder Don Wilson argues that futures actually traded “at a huge PREMIUM to the spot market,” signaling the so-called smart money wasn’t betting on a price drop.

Goldman Sachs’ is pulling out the plastic. Mind you, Marcus loans were supposed to provide respite from high interest rates on credit cards. And while the Wall Street bank has touted its caution, Goldman may jump into cards very late in the credit cycle.


What to watch for next week

  • Monday: CoinDesk’s Consensus blockchain conference starts, which will feature speakers including St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, officials from the CFTC and SEC, as well as Amber Baldet and the co-founder of CryptoKitties.
  • Wednesday: The US House Financial Services Committee has a hearing on the SEC’s division of enforcement and another hearing on terrorism and illicit finance.

Previously, in Future of Finance Friday

May 4: Banks say they aren’t profitable enough for tech giants to bother with their business

April 27: Crypto traders may not care about market manipulation, but governments do

April 20: Tech companies with financial industry aspirations will find a way around the rules

April 13: Big tech companies think they can make a lot of money from the world’s unbanked

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zippy72
4 days ago
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"Blockchain? No we don't have any actual problems it will solve, but everyone else is using it so we need to implement it immediately" - every useless manager, everywhere
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freeAgent
8 days ago
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Los Angeles, CA
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«1975: And the Changes to Come»

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These pictures are from a 1962 book called 1975: And the Changes to Come by Arnold B. Barach. They predict what the world of the future looked like from the early 60s – and many of them turned out to be surprisingly accurate, though they didn’t necessarily come about by 1975.

14. What's On Capetown-Television Tonight?

This is the ultimate in proposed television sets for a decade hence. It can receive television signals bounced from circling satellites, bringing programs from any city on the globe. The spot of origin of the program is indicated by a light on the world map in the upper panels. Round dials are clocks showing the hour in four major time zones. Dials at right are for tuning and sound control. The set is only three inches thick. On the reverse side it is equipped with an international stereophonic radio.

15. House for a Small City Lot.

Lightweight steel arches are the secret of this low-cost house for a city lot of limited area. Note how arches span both living area and outdoor recreational area. Model with roof removed shows how living space would be arranged. By 1975, land to build on will be much scarcer than today in big-city areas, so architects experiment with new housing concepts such as this to make the most of what will be available.

16. Fun for the Family.

Designers prepare for the future with new recreational concepts for the family. This beach house has multicolored aluminum roof and glass walls, offering complete access to the out-of-doors. Peaked roof is 15.5 feet above the floor, and walls radiate from central column like spokes on a wheel.

http://www.voicesofeastanglia.com/2013/01/1975-and-the-changes-to-come.html
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zippy72
4 days ago
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Where can I get one of those hifi spheres?
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satadru
9 days ago
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"House for a small city lot" "By 1975, land to build on will be much scarcer than today in big-city areas, so architects experiment with new housing concepts such as this to make the most of what will be available."
New York, NY
duerig
9 days ago
It is interesting to realize that houses like that aren't technically infeasible or too expensive. Rather they are illegal in most US cities. Maximum housing unit density is explicitly limited. And every house must have desginated setbacks from the property line on all sides with minimum yard sizes.
emdeesee
9 days ago
... and it is the emergent cartel of homeowners who tend to keep it this way. It's 2018 now, of course, but where I live there have been interesting developments (har har) in the zoning ordinance around housing, density, setbacks, and land use.
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How could the Facebook data slurping scandal get worse? Glad you asked

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Three million "intimate" user profiles offered to researchers

Yet another rogue Facebook app that gathered and sold "intimate" details on millions of users has come to light.…

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zippy72
4 days ago
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